6 Sep 2021

New Lynn attack: Countdown staff running on 'raw energy', spokesperson pleads customers to be kind

From Morning Report, 7:19 am on 6 September 2021

Countdown spokesperson Kiri Hannifin is pleading customers to be gentle on her team members after a terrorist attack in one of its stores.

Countdown New Lynn, which was the scene of Friday's attack, remains closed on Monday and police are still at the scene.

Thirty-two-year-old Ahamed Aathill Mohamed Samsudeen was shot dead by the police at the store after he took a knife from the shelves and started attacking bystanders.

Hannifin told Morning Report the team that were working in the store on Friday had been given access to trauma psychologists, similarly to what was done after a stabbing at a store in Dunedin in May.

She said staff across the country were facing increased stress after the attack and working through increased Covid-19 restrictions.

It made safety a challenge.

"It's really quite hard to get your head around how to keep people safe every day when they're trying to just do their jobs and people come in and be incredibly rude and aggressive often."  

Hannifin said she was not going to give up on keeping the team safe, but customers behaviour made things challenging.

"I dealt with a terrible complaint last night, it's made me sort of reflect on people's whether people have a kind heart."

The complaint involved a store letting in a group of customers because they were being intimidated.

Knives have been removed from the shelves at the moment and Hannifin is not sure whether they will be coming back.

"I don't know the answer, but what I do know is that we'll talk to our team about it, we'll get advice from the police and others around what is safe and what's not and we'll review it."

"At the moment it feels like at least we could do something quickly."